Dartmouth Explores Renewable Generation P3

Ivy League institution plans to rely on biomass fuel source.

  • DBFOM includes a thermal generation facility and distribution system
  • Alternatives such as a CHP are also being considered
  • Contract to be awarded in February 2020

Dartmouth College is looking for a private sector partner to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain a thermal generation facility and distribution system that will carry hot water throughout the campus.

The college, according to a recently-issued request for qualifications, intends for the private partner to develop a biomass woodchip-fueled plant that uses B99/B100 biodiesel as the peaking and back-up fuel source. But alternatives such as a combined heat and power plant will also be considered.

The project cost is estimated at roughly $200 million. Dartmouth plans to make performance-based demand payments to the private partner over a 30-year period, as well as reimburse operations and maintenance (O&M) and fuel costs up to a predetermined cap.

Goldman Sachs (financial), FVB Energy (technical) and White & Case (legal) are advising.

Notably, Dartmouth is currently working to reduce emissions, and increase the efficiency of its generation and distribution assets. The institution seeks to obtain 100% of its energy supply from renewable sources by 2050, and make its energy system carbon negative by 2051.The college in 2018 cut its fuel consumption to 3.5 million gallons of oil, from 4.6 million in 2010.

Responses to the RFQ are due by April 2, 2019, and an RFP will follow in September. A preferred proponent will be selected in February 2020.

Dartmouth is the latest US university to pursue an on-campus utility privatization. Earlier this month, the University of Iowa announced its plan to issue an RFQ for a potential utility system P3. Iowa’s President Bruce J. Harreld in a statement said that the university will over the next nine to 10 months determine whether to move forward with a P3.

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